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New Technology Removes Viruses From Drinking Water
University of Delaware via ScienceDaily.com ^ | March 2, 2007 | NA

Posted on 03/03/2007 6:54:16 PM PST by neverdem

Web address: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070228082232.htm
Source: University of Delaware
Date: March 2, 2007
More on:

New Technology Removes Viruses From Drinking Water

Science Daily University of Delaware researchers have developed an inexpensive, nonchlorine-based technology that can remove harmful microorganisms, including viruses, from drinking water.


Pei Chiu (left), an associate professor in UD's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Yan Jin, a professor of environmental soil physics in UD's plant and soil sciences department, have developed an inexpensive, nonchlorine-based technology that can remove harmful microorganisms from drinking water, including viruses. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Delaware)

UD's patented technology, developed jointly by researchers in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Engineering, incorporates highly reactive iron in the filtering process to deliver a chemical “knock-out punch” to a host of notorious pathogens, from E. coli to rotavirus.

The new technology could dramatically improve the safety of drinking water around the globe, particularly in developing countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over a billion people--one-sixth of the world's population--lack access to safe water supplies.

Four billion cases of diarrheal disease occur worldwide every year, resulting in 1.8 million deaths, primarily infants and children in developing countries. Eighty-eight percent of this disease is attributed to unsafe water supplies, inadequate sanitation and hygiene.

In the United States, viruses are the target pathogenic microorganisms in the new Ground Water Rule under the Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water Act, which took effect on Jan. 8.

“What is unique about our technology is its ability to remove viruses--the smallest of the pathogens--from water supplies,” Pei Chiu, an associate professor in UD's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, said.

Chiu collaborated with Yan Jin, a professor of environmental soil physics in UD's plant and soil sciences department, to develop the technology. They then sought the expertise of virologist Kali Kniel, an assistant professor in the animal and food sciences department, who has provided critical assistance with the testing phase.

“A serious challenge facing the water treatment industry is how to simultaneously control microbial pathogens, disinfectants such as chlorine, and toxic disinfection byproducts in our drinking water, and at an acceptable cost,” Chiu noted.

Viruses are difficult to eliminate in drinking water using current methods because they are far smaller than bacteria, highly mobile, and resistant to chlorination, which is the dominant disinfection method used in the United States, according to the researchers.

Of all the inhabitants of the microbial world, viruses are the smallest--as tiny as 10 nanometers. According to the American Society for Microbiology, if a virus could be enlarged to the size of a baseball, the average bacterium would be the size of the pitcher's mound, and a single cell in your body would be the size of a ballpark.

“By using elemental iron in the filtration process, we were able to remove viral agents from drinking water at very high efficiencies. Of a quarter of a million particles going in, only a few were going out,” Chiu noted.

The elemental or “zero-valent” iron (Fe) used in the technology is widely available as a byproduct of iron and steel production, and it is inexpensive, currently costing less than 40 cents a pound (~$750/ton). Viruses are either chemically inactivated by or irreversibly adsorbed to the iron, according to the scientists.

Technology removes 99.999 percent of viruses

The idea for the UD research sprang up when Jin and Chiu were discussing their respective projects over lunch one day.

Since joining UD in 1995, Jin's primary research area has been investigating the survival, attachment and transport behavior of viruses in soil and groundwater aquifers. One of the projects, which was sponsored by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation, involved testing virus transport potential in soils collected from different regions across the United States. Jin's group found that the soils high in iron and aluminum oxides removed viruses much more efficiently than those that didn't contain metal oxides.

“We knew that iron had been used to treat a variety of pollutants in groundwater, but no one had tested iron against biological agents,” Chiu said. So the two researchers decided to pursue some experiments.

With partial support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Delaware Water Resources Center, through its graduate fellowship program, the scientists and their students began evaluating the effectiveness of iron granules in removing viruses from water under continuous flow conditions and over extended periods. Two bacteriophages--viruses that infect bacteria--were used in the initial lab studies.

Since then, Kniel has been documenting the technology's effectiveness against human pathogens including E. coli 0157:H7, hepatitis A, norovirus and rotavirus. Rotavirus is the number-one cause of diarrhea in children, according to Kniel.

“In 20 minutes, we found 99.99 percent removal of the viruses,” Chiu said. “And we found that removal of the viruses got even better than that with time, to more than 99.999 percent.”

The elemental iron also removed organic material, such as humic acid, that naturally occurs in groundwater and other sources of drinking water. During the disinfection process, this natural organic material can react with chlorine to produce a variety of toxic chemicals called disinfection byproducts.

“Our iron-based technology can help ensure drinking-water safety by reducing microbial pathogens and disinfection byproducts simultaneously,” Chiu noted.

Applications in agriculture and food safety

Besides helping to safeguard drinking water, the UD technology may have applications in agriculture.

Integrated into the wash-water system at a produce-packing house, it could help clean and safeguard fresh and “ready to eat” vegetables, particularly leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, as well as fruit, according to Kniel.

“Sometimes on farms, wash-water is recirculated, so this technology could help prevent plant pathogens from spreading to other plants,” she said.

This UD research underscores the importance of interdisciplinary study in solving problems.

“There are lots of exciting things you can discover working together,” Jin said, smiling. “In this project, we all need each other. Pei is the engineer and knows where we should put this step and how to scale it up. I study how viruses and other types of colloidal particles are transported in water, and Kali knows all about waterborne pathogens.

“Our hope is that the technology we've developed will help people in our country and around the world, especially in developing countries,” Jin noted.

Currently, the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology in Calgary, Canada, is exploring use of the UD technology in a portable water treatment unit. Since 2001, the registered Canadian charity has provided technical training in water and sanitation to more than 300 organizations in 43 countries of the developing world, impacting nearly a million people.


Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of Delaware.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: microbes; virology; viruses; water

1 posted on 03/03/2007 6:54:20 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

And so, we do our best to avoid developing and utilizing our immune systems, just as viruses and bacteria become more and more drug-resistant.

Absolutely brilliant.


2 posted on 03/03/2007 6:56:04 PM PST by Terpfen (It's not Pelosi's fault. It's the 100-percenters' fault.)
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To: neverdem

Thanks for posting. Very interesting.


3 posted on 03/03/2007 6:57:00 PM PST by ChessExpert (Reagan defeated the Soviet Union despite the Democratic party. We could use another miracle.)
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To: neverdem

Thanks for this Information, it may save very many lives.


4 posted on 03/03/2007 7:01:34 PM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Vote for RINOS, lose and complain by sending a self-abused stomped elephant.)
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To: blam
Been wondering why humans living under intense Arctic and Subarctic conditions developed digestive systems that could handle nearly toxic levels of iron found in such items as seal liver.

Even reindeer tissues have 3 to 5 times as much iron as cattle and other deer.

Here's another natural selection factor.

5 posted on 03/03/2007 7:03:24 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: Terpfen; Mother Abigail; EBH; vetvetdoug; Smokin' Joe; AntiGuv
And so, we do our best to avoid developing and utilizing our immune systems, just as viruses and bacteria become more and more drug-resistant.

It's not 100% effective, even though it's close enough for government work. You're still being exposed to pathogenic microbes, but the exposure isn't large enough to overwhelm immune systems, IMHO.

6 posted on 03/03/2007 7:08:03 PM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: Terpfen
While the holy grail of disease prevention would be improvement of the immune system itself, there's something to be said for stopping dangerous pathogens from entering the body in the meantime. The rise of allergies and lower immunities in kids today is due to lack of exposure to nonlethal pathogens, not the nasties that filtering programs like these target.

As for drug resistance in bacteria, that is largely due to improper use of antibiotics. But why are antibiotics being used in the first place? Because some diseases can kill people despite their immune systems.

And why are viruses developing resistance? Because they mutate- not as a reaction to drugs, but because they just do. And just as mutations can raise drug resistance, they can also enable viruses to bypass immune defenses.

If you want to utilize your immune system against some virulent E. coli, sans antibiotics, be my guest.
7 posted on 03/03/2007 7:18:59 PM PST by verum ago (The Iranian Space Agency: set phasers to jihad!)
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To: neverdem
Whatever happened with the light driven water purification tube the guy from India was developing? That was very portable.
8 posted on 03/03/2007 7:20:06 PM PST by MHGinTN (If you've had life support. Promote life support for others.)
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To: neverdem

"New Technology Removes Liberals from Congress"

Now that would be real progress.


9 posted on 03/03/2007 7:25:39 PM PST by Liberty Wins (Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of all who threaten these.)
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To: neverdem

I don't want to visualize 4 billion people with diarrhea...


10 posted on 03/03/2007 7:29:03 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (No stinking peanut butter.)
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To: Terpfen

Yes, brilliant. This is good news.


11 posted on 03/03/2007 7:30:54 PM PST by Unknowing (Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.)
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To: TASMANIANRED

It's sad, but that condition is a leading cause of death in famine-stricken areas.


12 posted on 03/03/2007 7:40:15 PM PST by clyde asbury (Virgin No. 45: When you’re done, you should really check out how cool this ceiling is.)
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To: b_sharp; neutrality; anguish; SeaLion; Fractal Trader; grjr21; bitt; KevinDavis; Momaw Nadon; ...
FutureTechPing!
An emergent technologies list covering biomedical
research, fusion power, nanotech, AI robotics, and
other related fields. FReepmail to join or drop.

13 posted on 03/03/2007 7:46:48 PM PST by AntiGuv ("..I do things for political expediency.." - Sen. John McCain on FOX News)
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To: Bellflower

ping


14 posted on 03/03/2007 7:46:51 PM PST by Bittersweetmd (God is Great and greatly to be praised.)
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To: clyde asbury

Very true.

I applaud the innovation..


15 posted on 03/03/2007 7:51:51 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (No stinking peanut butter.)
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To: Terpfen
And so, we do our best to avoid developing and utilizing our immune systems, just as viruses and bacteria become more and more drug-resistant.

What a ridiculous comment. If you want to experience what untreated water does to immune systems and to mortality rates then by all means visit Nigeria or Afghanistan and knock yourself out.

16 posted on 03/03/2007 7:54:20 PM PST by AntiGuv ("..I do things for political expediency.." - Sen. John McCain on FOX News)
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To: Terpfen

People in the third world need cleaner water. It is perhaps the biggest health problem in the world.


17 posted on 03/03/2007 7:56:39 PM PST by Jeff Chandler (] Tagline Under Construction [)
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To: neverdem

I guess we screwed up when we switched from iron pipes to copper and then to PVC.


18 posted on 03/03/2007 8:01:26 PM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: neverdem

bump. It is my understanding that a lack of clean water supplies is one of, if not the, leading health problem in the world.


19 posted on 03/03/2007 8:16:03 PM PST by khnyny
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To: khnyny
It is my understanding that a lack of clean water supplies is one of, if not the, leading health problem in the world.

LOL

That's because every ville in the third world draws water upriver and flushes down river.

20 posted on 03/03/2007 8:26:39 PM PST by going hot (Happiness is a momma deuce)
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To: neverdem

ool, Iron

Or if you have neither the time nor the inclination to boil water, iodine is equally effective. After 10 minutes (20 minutes for very cold water), a sufficient dose of iodine kills all protozoa, bacteria, and viruses. There are many iodination methods, and two excellent ones are commercially available.


21 posted on 03/03/2007 8:34:14 PM PST by ASOC ("Once humans are exposed to excellence, mere average desirability is disappointing")
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To: clyde asbury; TASMANIANRED
I don't want to visualize 4 billion people with diarrhea...
It's sad, but that condition is a leading cause of death in famine-stricken areas.


Cheese is the answer. Airdrops of cheese.

Wise old Indian saying:

"Eat 'em cheese, choke 'em butt."
22 posted on 03/03/2007 8:39:42 PM PST by mkjessup (My mechanic said "I can't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder" - Stephen Wright)
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To: mkjessup

I thought cutting cheese was a different malady.


23 posted on 03/03/2007 8:42:17 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (No stinking peanut butter.)
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Muscle and bone from an ink-jet printer

FDA Reviewing Cold Drug Safety in Kids - Special Focus on Safety in Infants Less Than 2 Years Old

A Mix of Medicines That Can Be Lethal

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

24 posted on 03/03/2007 8:53:13 PM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

interesting, but I wish they'd go into a bit more detail about what they are doing and the mechanism of it.


25 posted on 03/03/2007 9:37:02 PM PST by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/Ron_Paul_2008.htm)
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To: Jeff Chandler

There's a difference between "clean water in the 3rd world" and "totally sanitized water in the 1st world."


26 posted on 03/04/2007 1:58:28 AM PST by Terpfen (It's not Pelosi's fault. It's the 100-percenters' fault.)
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To: 2ndreconmarine; Fitzcarraldo; Covenantor; Mother Abigail; EBH; Dog Gone; ...

ping...in case you missed this... (Thanks, neverdem!)


27 posted on 03/04/2007 6:11:55 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: Smokin' Joe
Thanks Joe. Very interesting stuff.

L

28 posted on 03/04/2007 6:41:04 AM PST by Lurker (Calling islam a religion is like calling a car a submarine.)
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To: muawiyah
"Here's another natural selection factor."

Yup. Everywhere we look...another explanation of why we are who we are.

29 posted on 03/04/2007 7:04:49 AM PST by blam
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To: Smokin' Joe

Thanks. I drink only distilled water.


30 posted on 03/04/2007 7:07:54 AM PST by blam
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To: neverdem


One thing I learned from Six Sigma.
99.999% ain't so good.

Imagine if the airlines had that record? Would _ANYONE_ fly willingly?

This technology sounds great and all, but if these monkey's in the third world just boiled the water, the problem would go away.


31 posted on 03/04/2007 10:06:28 AM PST by Malsua
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To: neverdem
Outstanding! This will be beneficial to third world countries. Those people are forced to drink water that I wouldn't take a shower in. It would be wonderful if we could wash our vegetables/fruits with this water to insure that all deadly viruses were killed simply by swishing them through the water! It would be more wonderful if they were able to use this technique to develop vaccinations for the viruses that kill people or make them very sick.
32 posted on 03/04/2007 10:37:34 AM PST by NRA2BFree (Duncan Hunter for President '08 - A genuine "Reagan Republican" for America!)
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To: ASOC

That's what all the literature has said for years. In recent years though, there are some claims that iodine is less effective against a pathogen called cryptosporidium. Supposedly they are encysted and in practice hikers tend to find and treat very cold water, without sufficient time to for iodine to work its' magic.

I always wondered if this isn't portable water purifier manufacturer agitprop. I use a ceramic filter and a trace of iodine for raw water. As every schoolboy knows, household bleach can also be used for water purification (the unscented Chlorox type), a different form of chlorine is used for many municipal water supplies.


33 posted on 03/04/2007 10:45:41 AM PST by Freedom4US (u)
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To: neverdem
BIG TX-before ur posting was gettin ready for a residential purification system-am pumpin from a spring/cistern. am/was considerin solid block carbon/UV combo; have saved this thread as a web file
34 posted on 03/04/2007 10:45:52 AM PST by 1234 (HELP Chrissie Matthews get the "O-Bomb" the Democratic nomination)
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To: Freedom4US
I use the 'overnight' method. I carry 2 liter soda bottles and when we laarger for the night, I hit the water point and fill up the bottles.

Using Aqua Pure at the correct dosage, the water sits overnight. I agitate the bottles before hitting the rack and again in the AM. I then pull the water thru a MSR filter to the thermos/canttens. Nice and clean and very little, if any, iodine taste.

I am considering an upgrade to a Katadyn Pocket Filter, but at 220+ USD, I am waiting for the normal replacement cycle.

I am not a fan of the Clorox product, too much odor and the resulting Trihalomethane, Haloacetic Acids and the other organic halides -- created by the use of chlorine -- are suspected carcinogens. I'll stick to iodine, it is, perforce, a bit more natural....or so it seems to me.
35 posted on 03/04/2007 11:35:07 AM PST by ASOC ("Once humans are exposed to excellence, mere average desirability is disappointing")
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To: neverdem

.


36 posted on 03/04/2007 11:49:11 AM PST by FranklinsTower
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To: ASOC

You should filter first, then use the chemical treatments, at least that's my understanding. I don't have the figures handy, but far less iodine is required, not even enough to taste. The "two tablets per quart of water, allow a little leakage in the screw threads, wait 20 minutes" directions covered a lot of bases. Chlorine isn't so good because it becomes bound up/used up in organic matter like leaves, dirt and such. That's why a swimming pool gets so gnarly and red-eye producing - not because of the chlorine, but other "stuff".


37 posted on 03/04/2007 1:00:55 PM PST by Freedom4US (u)
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To: Freedom4US

Well, to each his own. The water up here in Alaska is pretty clean (no mud, gunk, etc) and I primary filter with cloth. I'd rather filter dead bugs than worry about them sitting the filter and getting me a second time.

Sone early versions of the First Need filter had a rep of holding onto the bad bug and geting you a second time.


38 posted on 03/04/2007 1:30:58 PM PST by ASOC ("Once humans are exposed to excellence, mere average desirability is disappointing")
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To: Malsua
neverdem:
And so, we do our best to avoid developing and utilizing our immune systems, just as viruses and bacteria become more and more drug-resistant.
One thing I learned from Six Sigma.
99.999% ain't so good.
"Dosage makes the poison." That means that:

39 posted on 03/04/2007 4:38:28 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: neverdem

ping to my #39.


40 posted on 03/04/2007 4:39:54 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: ASOC

"first need" brand isn't a filter, but considered a purifier, as I understand it.


41 posted on 03/04/2007 4:50:40 PM PST by Freedom4US (u)
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To: Liberty Wins
"New Technology Removes Liberals from Congress"

It's called an informed and motivated electorate. Unfortunately it is beyond our grasp due to ignorance and apathy. ;)

42 posted on 03/05/2007 10:24:07 AM PST by anymouse
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To: neverdem

How is it on beta and alpha radiation?


43 posted on 03/05/2007 10:41:09 AM PST by bmwcyle (It is time to stop the left at the wall.)
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To: neverdem

"Four billion cases of diarrheal disease occur worldwide every year, resulting in 1.8 million deaths, primarily infants and children in developing countries"

Wow! How nice would it be to develop a product that would save 1.8 million people a year? Sweet! Not to mention the money these people would save from not being out of work, health care, etc. I'm having a hard time coming up with a bigger health advancement in the last 20 years.


44 posted on 03/05/2007 10:53:27 AM PST by cowtowney
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